People routinely ask me, “What exactly is a web application developer or programmer?”
Simply put, web application development is the creation and maintenance of software applications to be used on the World Wide Web. Think of a web application as much more than a standard “brochure” type website. It is a site you interact with such as an airline reservation site, etc.
To varying degrees, programmers are proficient in one or more of the above disciplines. Web application development can be varied or specific, depending on the needs of the Web pages involved.
One factor of Web application development that may not be evident to the casual observer is the number of revisions that such applications routinely involve. The World Wide Web is not a strictly controlled environment. People surf the Web using only one or a few of a large handful of methods, primarily browsers. Each Web browser is slightly different and shows Web pages in slightly different ways. Some are friendlier to certain Web languages than others, and so Web application development can be quite specialized.
A web developer/programmer must keep this variability in mind when designing web pages. Some browsers are certainly more prevalent than others, and many programmers focus on such markets exclusively, figuring that their time will be well spent because their target audience is the majority anyway; however, especially with consumer-based websites, you never know where your next high-paying customer is going to come from and what browser he or she will use to try to view your web application.
One of the most basic types of Web application development involves e-commerce sites. This is the kind of website you see when you shop online like the airline example above. Designers of these sites must anticipate all kinds of unusual customer behavior, as well as heavy traffic, while keeping the server and “shopping cart” up and running.
The ease of online shopping has created an “always-on” environment in which people can shop at all times of the day and night, wherever they are. E-commerce sites must be available to accept orders and money no matter what time it is at corporate headquarters. Web application development can lend itself specifically to e-commerce site creation, but the programmer would do well to keep the 24/7 mentality of potential customers in mind.
Another kind of Web application development is used for web-based office applications. Many offices, now days, use the World Wide Web to conduct their business operations, including all manner of accounting and tracking functions. Conference calls via the web are also popular, as are file transfers. Web application development for all of these practices is specific and in high demand.
In most instances, web application developers are self-employed and work as freelancers for multiple clients. That’s what I do. I specialize in what is known as the Full LAMP Stack (which includes all the technologies I listed above). I have developed my own PHP framework and it is in use by countless other web developers as I have released it as “open source”.
If you have a website idea or need help with your existing web application please let me know. I think you will be surprised just how little it costs to develop your dream web application!